So I met Peter Vesterbacka, the CEO of Rovio in China a few months ago while both of us were attending Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing. Indonesia, just like other countries, fell in love with one of their game called Angry Birds. It was a global phenomenon, a big red bird a green pig is going all over the map and Rovio is a globally acknowledged gaming company.
So I got him to talk to DailySocial via email for our CEO Corner segment where we talk about games, clones and mobile.
So many people talk about Rovio’s overnight success, but their CEO Peter Vesterbacka denied that statement: “Rovio was founded in 2003 after Niklas and two of his friends won a competition to create mobile games. Rovio made 51 games before Angry Birds.” he said, stating that Angry Birds was not an overnight success. It’s a long list of failures after failures before they come up with Angry Birds, they never gave up.
As one of the most popular game in the world, a global fad, Angry Birds is also becoming a target for cloners. The game was cloned, the characters were cloned, people create merchandises based on Angry Birds without permission from the company. They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and I guess that’s what Rovio thinks about Angry Birds clones out there. “Good things will always be copied, not much you can do about that.“, said Peter.
But they have a reason not to be worried about clones, they keep on innovating and creating good games that nobody can match! Angry Birds is probably Rovio’s most popular game, but based on that knowledge, they’re bringing new heights for the games they produce in the future. So what makes Angry Birds so popular compared to the other games produced by Rovio and – in this case – other big gaming companies?
“There are many reasons for the popularity, hard to pinpoint just one. The characters, the design for touch devices and some good marketing all contribute to the success.”
Lots of factors contributed to Angry Birds’ fast-growing popularity, factors coming from inside the game such as the simplicity, game play, the characters and the design; but also coming from outside of the game : the marketing, virality, and of course the device. It got me thinking whether Angry Birds would’ve been so popular had they release it for other platform before the iPhone version.
In a way, iPhone plays a major role for Angry Birds’ success with it’s development platform and its sophisticated hardware. In fact, iPhone plays a crucial role in boosting Angry Birds’ success, according to Vesterbacka “Angry Birds would not have become as big as it is without the iPhone and other touch devices”. I guess that iOS devices really changed the world of mobile gaming, in Rovio’s case that is.
Well, that’s a short interview with Vesterbacka, but before we end this I asked Peter to give advice to all entrepreneurs out there :
“Keep doing what you are doing, believe in yourself and you will be successful.”
Coming from a company that produces 51 failed games and 1 global-phenomenon, I would totally listen to him. Thanks a lot Peter, all success for Rovio and Angry Birds! You changed people’s lives